Integrated sub-acute care closer to home: The CQHHS Experience

Ms Kirstie Faulkner1, Carly Maurer1

1Central Queensland Hospital And Health Service, Rockhampton, Australia

Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service (CQHHS) set an ambitious plan to address the challenges of delivering high-value, sustainable services to meet the growing demands of an ageing population. Improving the care experience and clinical outcomes for sub-acute patients by providing care closer to home, optimising the use of technology and supporting a skilled allied health workforce have been identified as priorities.

The CQHHS allied health leadership team took strategic steps towards delivering integrated sub-acute care across the region. Enablers and barriers for successful implementation of this objective have been explored to inform further improvement opportunities.

Support from the Allied Health Professions’ Office of Queensland was critical through attainment of targeted project support for sub-acute care transition, implementation of allied health rural generalist trainee roles and facilitator training to implement skill-sharing and delegation practices. Innovative executive allied health leadership led re-alignment of the allied health workforce including introduction of key leadership roles.

Patient flow pressures necessitated the urgency to adopt alternative models of care and expand allied health involvement and influence in shaping the patient’s journey. This has resulted in reduced length of stay in specialist units and increased sub-acute care delivery in rural and remote facilities closer to home.

Ongoing barriers include inconsistent prioritisation of core business in different facilities, leadership changes and difficulties with recruitment and retention. Greater engagement from nursing and medical influencers will help establish system wide changes.

Allied health can support the strategic priority of sub-acute care closer to home through a deliberate and committed approach.


Kirstie Faulkner is an Advanced Allied Health Practitioner in Rehabilitation and Geriatrics for Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service.  She has clinical experience in hospital-based and community physiotherapy roles in Australia and the United Kingdom. Recently she has worked in the role of Principal Project Officer for the Transition to Sub-acute project aimed at optimising the patient journey for sub-acute patients from rural and remote areas.

Carly Maurer works as a Director Allied Health at Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service. Carly graduated from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Physiotherapy (First Class Honours) in 2004. Carly has assumed clinical, managerial, education and research roles in tertiary, regional and remote settings in Queensland and Western Australia. In recent years, Carly has taken on leadership roles and responsibilities in clinical governance, workforce development and clinical education.

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